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Cantilevering Single Family Residence Built Between Tall Trees

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Waccabuc, New York, is home to a recently completed (2011) two story modern house that borrows the name of its location – the Waccabuc House. Designed and constructed by Architect Chan-li Lin of Rafael Vinoly Architects on a 3.25 acre site, this modern residence on top of a hill gives the impression of being a comfortable tree house. Placed at the end of a 1,000 foot-long dirt road, the Waccabuc House was built on the remains of an abandoned single story volume from 1954. This challenged the architects to design a home that would encompass the main living spaces in a volume floating above the ground, surrounded by tall trees and flooded by naturally filtered natural light.

Here is how the architects explain the custom architecture: “The second floor structure is a pair of lightweight floor-height steel trusses supported on six columns pinned to the rock ledge below. The cantilevered ends extend twenty feet beyond the supports, forming a carport to the east and a covered porch to the west. The first floor is nestled into the existing rock outcroppings and site contours and was constructed using conventional 2×6 wood framing.”  With an east-west orientation, the single family residence gathers views from all angles and the first floor cantilevers over the terrace, providing shade. Radiant heat pipes embedded in the polished concrete floors offer comfort while maintaining a modern set of interiors. Wood, stucco and glass were used to create an expressive collection of details strongly linked to the outdoor, while the difference between the horizontally cladded dark cantilevering volume and the vertically clad first floor creates a powerful first impression.

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An example of a huge success is Heneghan Peng Architects’ Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Using the large difference in level across the site, the architects created two folds in the landscape. Bold, but not conflicting with the rather bleak natural environment, these folds draw all the man-made areas together and create one fitting man-made break in the natural landscape. In the words of the architects themselves, There is no longer a building and a landscape, but building becomes landscape and the landscape itself remains spectacular and iconic

A good building should make you want to look at it. Even if not always liked by passers-by, it should always make them feel something. Manchester Metropolitan’s University’s business school is a building that effortlessly fits this criteria. Indeed for many, the building by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios is their first taste of the architecture of Manchester as they travel along the arterial road, Mancunian Way. With its distinct ski-slope roof, and glittering mirrored appearance, it provides a flash of silver, and a dazzling break from the dull greys of the motorway, greeting motorists in a slightly space-age way as they enter the city

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